Team Talk for all players from a tired Tank

I’ve talked about running instances from the point of view of a tank that wants to help other new tanks prepare themselves to do the best they can in groups.

I tend to focus on group play rather than soloing, and tanking rather than DPS or Healing. It’s what I mostly think my WoW related rantings on this blog are all about.

It’s what I do. Well, it’s what I do when I’m not doing something else.

I think it’s time to touch on first principles briefly.

I talk about group play in general because when you play solo, no matter how crazed or off the wall you may play, no matter how little you may know about your class spells, Talents, gear or playstyle, the only person’s time you affect is you.

If you want to try to level from 1 to 80 as a pacifist, never harming any other living digital creature… more power to you. Have fun! Send screenshots.

In group play, there are other people present who depend on you to act a certain way, play a certain way, and work towards a common goal together. You’re no longer just handicapping yourself; you’re bringing other people down with you.

So I talk about group play more, because in my mind playing well in groups in a multiplayer game is a higher priority that fine tuning solo performance. 

I talk about tanking because it was the single most challenging aspect of the game for me, personally, to learn when I started. I leveled as DPS Cat/Bear, and I raided as Healing at level 60 end game, but it wasn’t until I hit true Bear tanking in BC that I felt challenged… and rewarded for skillful play. It’s that feeling of satisfaction with Tanking as part of a group, and the enjoyment of doing something difficult very well, that led me to write guides and offer suggestions about it, to help others get started in a little seen aspect of the game and share the fun.

So, I talk about group play because I want to help people be the best member of their group that they can for everyone’e benefit, and I talk about tanking because that was the role of a group I personally found the most challenging to learn.

A statement of my tanking belief.

I feel that, as a member of the team in the role of the tank, it is my primary responsibility to do the best I can to be a team player, and work towards the success of the group. Everything else is built on the foundation of being a team player.

Building on the foundations of being a good team player, I feel that as a tank, it is my job to;

  • Keep all aggro from mobs on me instead of the team.
  • Regain lost aggro as quickly as possible to keep mobs from interfering with other members of the team.
  • Be as difficult to hurt as possible to ease the strain on the Healer to keep me alive through a fight.
  • Be as difficult to hurt as possible to ease the strain on the DPS to kill all mobs before I and the Healer are overwhelmed. 

Those are the core duties of the role. All are focused on being a good team player.

There are other aspects of playing a tank that may not be readily apparent, but when you think in terms of being a good team player, there are lots of things you can see to help.

Remember, my point is to approach the game with the attitude of being the best team player you can; to do what is within your power to ensure the group’s success, and to help everyone towards victory.

Examples of other things you can do as a tank to be a good team player;

  • Hold mobs physically stationary whenever possible so that melee DPS have an easier time of getting behind them. Melee DPS have to properly position themselves to achieve their most effective DPS.
  • Keep the style of your pull as consistent as possible to help your healer and DPS players anticipate what you are about to do (run in and turn around to face mobs away from the rest of the group, or turn to the side, or mark first and second kill targets, etc). This helps everyone else learn to anticipate what you will do, and be prepared for the best time to unleash their skills without pulling.
  • Move mobs and the party out of AoE effects as quickly as possible; don’t just get yourself out, reposition the mob so the DPS behind him are also free from pools/slime/kabooms.
  • Watch mana levels in the group and pause for clearly announced “mana breaks” when really necessary, so that Healers do not feel overly rushed from pull to pull. Encourage the Healer or other players to announce when they want a mana break, and do not listen to people who want to ignore the requests of other team members for a mana break. Only the player who is low on mana can decide for themselves when or if they need a mana break.
  • Pause before the very first instance pull to allow everyone time to buff.
  • Communicate clearly with the group, both with what you intend to do, and also what you would like others to do. Communication also includes asking if anyone is new to an instance, and providing tips before tricky pulls where appropriate.

These things are not written in stone as what a tank must do, but every single suggestion, if followed, can help contribute to a smoother run for the team.

If you are consistent, calm and clear, it helps to cut down on chaos in the party, and players that learn to know what to expect of your pulls will be that much faster in target selection and destruction.

Bringing the same principles to the other roles of a group.

What I listed above applies to tanks. Things to think about, things to watch as opportunities to help as a member of a team. There are many other things that tanks can do to help, as well. That’s why I’ve got a blog, to chat about them.

I’d like to take this opportunity to refresh the idea of good team work and group play in the minds of my readers.

It’s not just tanks that are responsible for being good team players. Every member of the team has a responsibility to do the best they can to contribute to the success of the entire run.

Talking about Threat

One of my first rants on this blog was about Damage Meters. The reason I ranted was because of the effect on a team. I believe that the obsession with reaching the top of Damage Meters indicates that the player is more concerned with scoring a high DPS number than he or she is with being a great team player, and that irritates me.

Let me be more specific. A lot of classes have threat reducing abilities. Paladins have Hand of Salvation, Kitties have Cower, Rogues have Feint and Vanish, Hunters have Feign Death and Misdirect, Mages have Ice Block, etc. Sure, not all classes do, but a lot do. There is no satisfactory reason to ignore the threat reducing tools of a class, because it is not the tank’s job to generate threat that exceeds every player’s maximum possible potential DPS. It’s not, and if you think it is, well, you’re wrong.

There is an excellent addon called Omen, which is a Threat Meter. If you install it, by default it will show you what your threat level is on your targeted mob, in comparison to other players, including the tank.

Even if you do not use Omen, WoW now has an option to enable a flashing red warning on the screen when you are pulling aggro on your target.

Even if you don’t use addons, there is still a way to get an indication when you are exceeding threat.

The most fundamental responsibility of DPS and Healer players as part of a team is to not pull aggro off of the tank. Period.

You can easily do this by using Omen, waiting for the tank to get at least one attack off on your targeted mob, and then opening with auto-attack or a low damage attack. Then you glance at Omen to see where you stand on threat. You do as much damage as you can, up to and not exceeding the threat the tank has on the mob.

If you are capable of doing 7500 DPS, but the tank is not capable of matching and exceeding your threat, then it is your responsibility to throttle back your DPS to the point where you can attack without pulling.

If you, as a DPS player, are not capable of throttling back your threat to match the tank, then you, not the tank, SUCK as a team player.


Because yes, while the tank has taunting abilities, those abilities are better used as emergency pulls when adds run in, or when someone gets a surprise critical strike that pushes them over the top,NOT as something to be used on every single cooldown just for you, personally.

If every DPS player in a group is pulling aggro off the tank, and the tank only has one taunt, then there are two other players that are eating their mobs, and while we can say we don’t care, you pull it you tank it, the fact is, this is creating chaos. It is stressing the Healer. It is stressing the Tank. It is causing the run to be a big, crappy mess.

This is the fault of the player that regularly pulls aggro. None other. And apologizing in advance that you’re going to be pulling off the tank regularly because you’re “lol so leet”, just says to me, “Hi, I don’t actually know how to play my class, but look at all the neat loot my friends got for me!”

Do you think I respect you because of your gear score, when you don’t have any idea how to manage your threat ina  group? Or, even better, don’t care? I have far more respect for any player that tries their best to be a good team player no matter what their gear. Far more

Every player in a group should be starting with the idea, “What can I be doing to help the group succeed?” If you’re not, why are you grouping? Chances are high it’s because of selfish motives. And I have no respect for that, either.

For DPS, here are some tips.

Watch your threat, and take care to not regularly exceed the threat output of the tank. You can use Omen, or again with the addon plug, you can use a Nameplate addon like Tidy Plates with Threat Plates. It works great for DPS as well. If you see you are about to pull aggro, use a threat dump like Feign Death, switch to auto-attacking for a bit, or switch your attentions to a different target.

Be prepared to protect the healer. Try to watch for adds that run after the Healer. Yes, DPS players can and should try to intercept mobs that escape the Tank to head for the Healer. That can easily happen if there are adds that are pulled, but have no threat done to them. Such adds are loose, and will go after the Healer as soon as the Healer creates healing threat.

Some specific suggestions that you used to see all the time; Hunters hanging out near the Healer, and dropping Ice Trap in front of the Healer to automatically grab the first add that runs after him. Warlocks that have their blueberry taunt mobs off the Healer (if it’s out) when they run in. Priests can Shackle if it’s Undead. Paladins can either bubble the Healer, or cast Hand of Salvation on them (or on other, super high threat generating DPS). And on and on.

Be prepared with your own bandages and consumables like Healing Potions. Yes, there is a group healer, and I’m sure they’re doing their best. But every Healer has priorities, and if the Healer is overtasked keeping the Tank or themself alive, you might not get a Heal when you want, and you should be prepared to spot heal yourself.

Don’t run ahead of everyone else to push the pace. It’s a team effort. If you’re in that much of a hurry to lead, then make a tank and find someone to heal you. If you are not the tank, then it is not your job to pull unless specifically expected to do so by friends or asked to by the tank.  It is not funny, it’s not cute, and it’s not helpful. It’s being an asshat in the minds of every team player I know. If you don’t like the pace of the random you got, then only run with friends. If you don’t have any friends willing to run with you, then maybe you need to think about why that is.

There are so many things that DPS players can do to help make a run smoother, it boggles the mind. Heck, I didn’t even mention using CC on loose mobs that the Tank hasn’t grabbed yet, or using other class abilities like Tremor Totem for Shamans when fighting mobs that Fear regularly, (or Priests likewise using Fear Ward on the tank when fighting a mob that Fears), or Druids Innervating Paladin tanks or Healers that are low on mana mid-fight, or…

Well, you get the point, don’t you? If you’re trynig to be a good player, browse your spellbook. You might find something there neat to try.

Priests using Mind Control to have mobs buff the team? Ever try it?

There is more to being a good team player for DPS than going all out on their attack rotation the second the tank pulls, and maxing the DPS Meters.

A few suggestions for Healers;

Watch your threat. Healers DO create threat. You gain threat for the healing that is actually done on your targets, divided amongst all the mobs currently aware of the target you are Healing.

If the Tank is running forward at the group of mobs, and is at max health, then if you cast a HoT, the HoT does zero healing on the first tick, and does zero threat. The threat does not start until there is actually damage to be healed, and only does threat per point healed, not based on the maximum potential healing the spell could have done.

If the Tank is below max health before the pull, you cast a HoT, and the Tank runs forward within the awareness range of the mobs, then if the first tick hits before the Tank has done ANY damage, every mob just aggroed on the Healer, and start running for, or begins casting attacks AT the Healer.

You can prevent this by waiting until a target or the Tank has done some threat before you heal them. Tanks in particular should be allowed to attack once or twice before you unload heals and HoTs on them.

Watch your mana level. Use mana regeneration abilities to top up on the fly, or be prepared to drink between pulls quickly. Others should try to give you time to regain mana, but be proactive in looking for opportunities to keep yourself topped up.

If you queued as a Healer, make healing the entire group your priority, and NOT dealing DPS. If you are so eager to top the DPS meters, queue as a DPS. The group needs to be able to count on your heals being there in an emergency. If you can drop some DPS into the mix, that’s fine, but never let it get in the way of performing your prime duty; keeping the team alive.

A few general suggestions for EVERYONE.

Be repaired, be armed with your proper Reagents, and BUFF PEOPLE. Few things say “lazy selfish bugger” to me quite as clearly as someone that just can’t be bothered to buff anyone else on the run. I don’t care if you think it’s necessary or not, the point is that as a team player, you have a way to contribute to the overall success of the group. So buff people.

Don’t queue up for a run unless you intend to stay for the entire length of the run. Within reasonable limits, of course. If the group is just completely fail, and you try and try to pull things together and people just aren’t willing to listen or work together, then no, I’m not saying stick it out for four hours. I am specifically saying, don’t queue for a group, get a group, start the run, and ten minutes later announce “Whoops, raid time, gotta go, bye!” and drop group.  That’s bullshit. If you don’t have ten minutes, then you don’t have time. Don’t queue.

I have never said all this stuff before, at least in so many words, because in my heart I thought everyone that wanted to group, wanted to do their best to be a team player.

I’m writing this in the hopes that people really DO want to be a good team player, but don’t understand how.

What I’m afraid of is that most people that act like selfish asshats in teams do so intentionally, because they really don’t give a damn about anyone else. Nothing will help that situation, except an ever-expanding ignore list.

I’ll end this with one very serious statement.

Having a high gear score does not make you a good player. Putting out 15k DPS, having 100K Health, or being able to heal a Squirrel through a Hurricane does not make you a good player. I will not kiss your ass. Those stats are loot based. Static. They say nothing of how good a player you are, they only indicate what kind of content you’ve run successfully in the past with other people. 

What they really tell us is that you’ve run in a group that had some good players in it. It tells us nothing about YOU.

What makes you a good player is how you behave as part of a team, in every team you join. You have to prove yourself fresh every single time you join a group.

In WoW, just as in real life, nobody cares how you played on your other character, on your main, in your raid group, or with your friends last week. All we care about is, how are you playing right now?

I invite all other bloggers to think about what their favorite class can do in terms of being a strong supportive team player, and write a post to help guide folks along those lines.

I know it seems, well, obvious, but seriously, based on the runs I go on it’s past time to be clear about this stuff, and bring team play back to the front of people’s awareness.

75 thoughts on “Team Talk for all players from a tired Tank

  1. I have really fallen in love with my baby bear that I have been leveling in Lfg. The experience has been great for me to understand some of the issues that I have seen tanks go through, main is a healer, and never really understood. I plan on looking through your site for a guide for lowbie tanks to get started and while I think I have a pretty good grasp of Bear tanking from what I read on your site. The suggestion to tag melee mobs with fairy fire was a life saver for me since at lower levels I had real issues keeping threat on all mobs – thank you.

    You probably have this written somewhere, but I’ll ask anyway. How do you deal with stuns? I pretty much refuse to step foot in the 1st two instances of Maradon because of the excessive stuns that makes tanking those instances very frustrating. I have basically abandoned randoms and have been choosing specific instances in Lfd because of this – I don’t have any issue tanking the Princess zone, but the other two are just a pain in “Big Bear Butt”.

    That said; I too have an issue with being greedy since I chose Sunken Temple today as a 45 Bear and while I finished the instance the holding threat against players that are 5 levels higher than me made the run pretty messy – had a Lock leave group today when I suggested that he may want to single target the mobs instead of raining his fire. Totally my fault, I got greedy and he died.


  2. My main is a Mage, I started playing around BC, and I loved dungeoning and raiding there. There were THINGS to do besides deliver DPS: it was required of me to CC, to silence, to do something else besides pulling 7k DPS NO MATTER WHAT. In my opinion, DPS meters is the worst thing to happen to this game ever. It has converted my fellow DPSers on a horde of button-mashing idiots who just want to end at the top of the little window no matter what. I remember a “fellow” mage on a raid to Naxxramas (at the beginning of WOTLK) who was laughing at me on raid chat because he literally doubled me on DPS. The I “gently” reminded him that he pulled aggro on the tanks on every pull, on every boss, and as a result he was dead very early on every pull and boss. I asked him to check the other DPS meter most DPSers conveniently ignore: accumulated damage delivered. And on that metric I TRIPLED him, just by staying alive. I told him in comparison he was a one-hit wonder and I was The Beatles, but sadly the metaphor (and the lesson) was lost on him.

    I have two alts: a tankadin and a holy/disc priest. And maybe you don’t condone this behavior, BBB, but when I find irresponsible DPS on my group I give them one fair warning: “If you pull it, you’ll tank it. I’ll sit down and watch you die.” Most DPS LOL and that and keep their behavior, then it comes the following NPC group and they pull it; and they see how I sit and refuse to do anything. Hopefully they die before the rest of the party do, and then I start tanking and aggroing. The other day happened with my healer, a chaman, who was happy to pull the next group with some lightning while I was still tanking the previous one. He did it “so we could do the dungeon quick”, and I replied that I was the tank and I set the pace. Next group he did the same and I simply sat. He died calling me a lot of names, saying I was the worst tank ever and the quit group. The next healer was a very good disc priest and we finished the dungeon without further ado. I don’t care about the name calling, and I don’t hope they learn their lesson, but I’m not gonna work for assholes.

    And as a healer I do the same: I’ll heal you while you behave. Start doing idiot things and you’ll be the last to get heals, I’ll even heal pets before you. Since doing those idiot things generally involves pulling aggro and getting hit the first in the group, you’re gonna die. And I’m not gonna care.


  3. Hi there,
    I’ve leveled a druid alt in healer/dps spec, and recently changed from cat to bear just to see how it was (you know, if you want to be a good team player, walk a mile in their shoes 😉 ) and i must say that compared to tree-healing, bear tanking in LFD heroics gear can be massively stressing. I try to warn everibody when we start the dungeon that i’m a newbie tank, so ask them politely to not start AoEing at the start of the pull (duh!!!) so i can grab a little aggro first, i’ve read every bear-tanking guide i could fetch, and for the moment, with same leveled dpss, i can tank any non-ICC heroic nicely. But it’s utterly frustrating to find some overgeared jerk from time to time, that refuses to throttle down. The most excruciatingly painfull example was a warrior dual welding a LEGENDARY frostmourne (the axe from ICC, yes the final reward) AND a bryn-toll (spelling?), that started every pull with a whirldwind. Of course, i couldn’t hold aggro on anything, even with taunts and got vote kicked T.T

    The sad part, is that everybody starts mumbling when they stay for 15 minutes in the LFD as dps, but the minute they get their tank, they start treating it like shit.

    My advice, the newbie tank that’s trying to equip himself, is going to give you FAST queue times, but if you treat it like shit because it can’t rush your dungeon, there will be less and less newbie tanks equiping, do the maths 😉


  4. This is a great post! I wish everyone would read so we could get the asshats in line. You wonder why your server has a thin number of tanks? This may be why. I like to tank but can’t deal with the healer with low mana yelling gogogo or the mage that wants to pull.


  5. Nice post. It makes me a little sad, though… I have little faith that the people who SHOULD read this sort of post ever will. And if they do, they’ll just brush it off like Helistar does.

    I once had a warlock yell at me because they died when they used Shadow Fury on a group of mobs I hadn’t even reached yet, and when the pack of mobs split between them and the warrior that had charged in, I grabbed the two that the were on the warrior as the one after the warlock slipped past. When I pointed out that I can’t be expected to have aggro on mobs I haven’t touched, almost the entire group brushed me off because “heroics are easymode” and they proceeded to pull the final boss. I just hit the boss with faerie fire just to make sure these jerks didn’t screw me out of the frost badges by booting me before the boss died. (Since you can’t boot someone who’s in combat.) It was a very bitter experience for me…

    I both eagerly await and dread more difficult heroics in Cataclysm. I will personally be laughing at all the selfish jerks who get themselves killed, prove themselves inept, and get kicked. But I fear pugs are going to be difficult BECAUSE of these jerks. (After all, if they’re anything liek BC instances, one idiot can get the entire group killed.) It’ll be a trial by fire, where, in the beginning, everyone will be burned. I just hope they learn quickly. =P


  6. Resto druid main – I’ve seen everything, but then we all have. When I’m running one of my DPS toons (or as a boomkin), I always always put the tank on focus, and I have target of focus square in the middle of my screen. Certainly I peel off to other mobs or AoE as needed, but when in doubt as to what to attack, I figure if I hit the tank’s target, I greatly reduce the risk of pulling aggro.


  7. As a resto druid, thanks for the insight about how HoTs work. A lot of the resto sites indicate that the HoTs a tank carries in to a fight with him don’t count towards healing threat, which didn’t seem right in my experience, but I know very well that the overgeared tank who was slumming in Gundrak the other day wasn’t hurt by a rejuv and lifebloom ticking away on him as he pulled pack after pack to round up a big juicy AoE target. But since I made sure to keep him fully topped off, those initial rejuves were ticking for not a hell of a lot compared to the at-level tanks who tend to be getting full ticks of heals while they run in and promptly watch mobs make a beeline for the rapidly barkskinning tree.


  8. As a fellow tank (Prot War), great post… except I’m shocked that a Druid mentions Cower. It’s obscenely broken right now: just sitting there and not doing anything for a GCD actually reduces your threat more than casting Cower, IIRC. Which isn’t to say that Kitty Druids shouldn’t be aware of this, watch their threat, and ask for Vig/BoP as needed, but Cower just isn’t a viable threat dump anymore.


  9. As someone who has just started tanking, mainly as a bear druid, I welcome this post — great info! And as someone who tries to be a helpful DPS on other toons (mostly my L80 DK), I agree wholeheartedly with the DPS advice. Thanks for the post 🙂


  10. When I tank with my Paladin I always make a point of turning all packs so they face away from the group to avoid any cleave/frontal cone attacks making the healers life harder as well as giving melee an easier time. From my time healing on my resto druid I have always felt sorry for melee and like to give them at least 15-20secs of easy dps before they die to whatever whirlwind is about to make them rogue paté.

    I have recently swapped my balance offspec for a feral dps one and I can’t believe how rare it is to find a tank who sees the need to help out their melee. Obviously cats have it hard due to Shred but it also means the rogue will get cleaved and spend every pull licking floor.

    In fact I have made an explanatory macro now to politely ask the tank to move away from fire/voidzones/poison so that I can get behind the boss. It has to be said I also have a tanking one asking melee to make use of the expansive area I have thoughtfully provided behind the mobs.

    As a new melee player who also tanks I am also struggling with the ultimate question…which is worse boss ass or boss crotch /discuss 😛


  11. Very nice, BBB. Need some way to deliver this post in suppository form, as too many folks are obviously not using their brains for thinking.

    It’s very sad when people attempt to chew you out for behaving well. Just the other day, another DPS in a PUG heroic told me: “You have pathetic DPS for someone with 5.9k GS and Kingslayer.”

    (Well yeah, the Kingslayer is pure epeen, but the 10 man I lead worked damned hard for it and I’m proud of the new shiny.)

    I replied: “The tank is substantially less geared, so I’m watching Omen and mostly auto-attacking so that I don’t steal aggro. Which is just as well because it leaves his taunts for the four mobs that are usually eating your face and lets the healer work on healing you through stupid.”

    Pretty much got a standing ovation from the tank and healer at least.


  12. BBB, OMG, this is the best post evar! I really think this needs to be at the load screen of Wrath right after the EULA. And I agree with BITTERFIG and BBB on the lazy point. I got into an argument with a pally tank about him not killing pats. “They were not there when I was there”. Well they are now sunshine, and they want some Tree. 🙂


  13. “Move mobs and the party out of AoE effects as quickly as possible; don’t just get yourself out, reposition the mob so the DPS behind him are also free from pools/slime/kabooms.”

    THIS. As feral dps, I can’t do my job when the tank doesn’t pull the boss out far enough. It’s hard enough keeping a good kitty priority list rolling without having to choose between continuing normal dps or considering the healer and moving. Either way, there’s the distinct possibility that someone’s going to think I’m retarded – “you can’t dps worth crap” or “you can’t get out of the bad” are pretty much my only options with tanks that don’t care about their groups.


  14. My main spec is resto. I have a hard time healing on HHoR for the same reason. Everyone wants to get in and attack before the tank has successfully rounded up aggro. Problem is I can’t heal too many of them before the tank drops. HHoR is blizzard’s kick in the pants for all those crazy Dps. I honestly feel Forge of Souls is similar but they never want to admit fault. Some time Dps act as if we are their for their service when really they are the replaceable ones.


  15. As a resto druid, I try to be conscious of the various levels of skill and gear of my party when doing heroics. I never start to do DPS until I check the other players health and damage to see if anyone is fragile. I do love to throw in some dps but you are right, my first job is healing. Mages are probably my biggest issue in heroics. When they get threat, their little squishy bodies can’t take much damage and can be one shot if they aren’t careful. I try to keep a few rolling hots on any aggressive mages or give them a polite /slap.

    Wonderful tips Mr. Butt


  16. Fantastic article BBB. Required reading in my book. Ive been running a new tank through the LFD, and it amazes me how often a group goes tits up because the 5 people in there are acting like 5 chickens without heads who happened into the same fox-hole at the same time. Yes, we might be rather big chickens (ostriches? emus?), but we are meant -even if only for that few minutes – play like a team.

    My new-found respect for tanks has grown exponentially, as time after time I try to hold aggro only to have some l33t dps-er simply ignore any sort of plan (hunter pets with growl up AND on aggressive: I mean, c’mon!), or demand that I tank ‘as well as they do’, without any useful discussion of what I could do better.


  17. BITTERFIG!!! GREAT point! Hell yes, if a group is likely to get pulled or be a pain in the ass later on down the road, don’t be lazy, just kill the bastards!


  18. It’s amazing that everyone always seems to only be ‘looking out for number one’ as my dad says. It’s frustrating because the people that need to hear this aren’t likely to be reading it. Or, if they are, they think that they are behaving in a perfectly normal manner, and don’t think there’s anything wrong with what they are doing. But maybe, just maybe you got through to one or two of them.

    As for your blogger challenge, I will refer back to a post of mine I wrote a few months back.

    “The magic of interrupting casters”


  19. I want to embroider this post on a pillow and then use that pillow to smother some of the DPS I have played with, LOL.

    I have to say, I loathe threat meters too. When I am on my DPS, I do indeed want to be all that I can be, but one of the glorious things about being the tank is that I get to do that without feeling pressure from the damn meters. Even though I’m not that competitive, I keep the meter up to track my DPS and see if a rotation is working or whatever, when I play, but just having it there makes playing DPS less about team playing and more about inter-team e-peening, however much I would wish otherwise.

    Someone told me enhancement shammies help everyone they play with, and are understood not to top DPS meter for that reason (I don’t know the details, my shammy is level 6). But if that’s true, perhaps that is the DPS class I should be playing.


  20. I’ll add one. If a pack of mobs is likely to be pulled by accident, it ought to be pulled intentionally. You might think you’ll save time, trying to dodge this pat or the other, skipping this one mob, but when a wipe or just a death will slow you down, probably more than pulling the group in the first place.


  21. I was once in a guild full of great people. Everyone was really nice and I just enjoyed their presence. At this time my druid was 70ish and I was not 80. I loved the guild so much that I transferred over my two 80s. I start off by dpsing heroic with them on my hunter. He was about 4kish Gs and I have tons of exp on hunter. The rest of the group was 5k plus with a 6k mage. The very first pull I jumped to the top of the Recount. I thought it was weird because my gear was so much lower. I was doing 2.8 to 3k dps and the mage was doing 2.5 to 2.7, we were in Heroic Forge of Souls. After inspection I realized that they were in full PvP gear. lol.

    So gear score is not a direct reflection of skill.

    Still good guys though.


  22. Awesome post! I’m a healer myself, and while I know how a paladin should be playing to optimally support the group, I know that I fail at it sometimes. I fail to use cooldowns when appropriate sometimes, heck, I even fail to cast some Hand of.. spell when needed the most. Mostly just because I’m already stressing out on healing, but hey, I could’ve made it easier on myself right?

    I think I’ll follow up on your suggestion to do a post on how (Holy) paladins could and should behave in a group. Might be interesting to name and shame myself for a change. I am The Failadin for a reason 😉


  23. Good post, bear. I love being a team player on my healy shaman – when I interrupt a spell cast, or put down totems, I always feel super good about myself. =P

    I also love it when the tank says, “Nice heals.” Just that simple phrase can REALLY make other players/healers feel good. Or if I’m healing, and the tank is busting his ass grabbing mobs, I’ll let him know: “Nice tanking!” Two simple words can mean so much to others. I try to compliment at least one person per run. 🙂


  24. Nicely timed article as I’ve been mulling this over for awhile. Do you think that Blizzard may be partially to blame here? For one, the new random LFG is cross-server, meaning if you get a group and no one is from your server there are no repercussions for poor behavior. No one is going to go kicking and screaming into Trade to denounce your behavior. Second, could the orientation of the content being based on “zerging” and no strategy be partially at fault? Back in BC you had to be somewhat coordinated with pulls, even when you were geared because they required strategy. The content was also more fine tuned and, before the massive pre-WOTLK nerf, even H SH’s gauntlet could be a challenge in full T6.

    Don’t mistake my point here, there is no excuse to be an asshat and I firmly believe that one should conduct themselves online in such a way that they would conduct themselves in person. I’m simply hypothesizing on why this behavior became so pervasive.

    On a related note, I get very frustrated when I queue as a particular role only to have someone announce that they will now be filling the role I queued for because “they can do it better”. For example, my shaman is Healer/DPS, but I may only queue as Healer because that’s what I feel like doing today) and someone else says “Oh, I’ll heal because my other set is better and we can go faster if I heal since I don’t drink, ever.”


  25. @TEX I would recommend getting a strong but not OP set of gear, and using some sort of wardrobe changing addon (even blizz built in one would work i guess) but put on your lower dps set (say naxx10/25 level) when you are going to Q for heroics. when you pug for raids swap to your better gear. if your heroic group has great gear, you can always up your game. or even make a game out of squeezing the most out of a lower ilvl set of items. (ie. in boomkin naxx25ish gear, katt pulls in a moderate 1900-2100 dps depending on the group makeup and the quality of the tank. i’m not going to top the meter, but will have fun dishing out the hurt.)

    concerning gearscore, I use it as a tool to judge my own gear, if you type /gs and target yourself you can see things concerning the gear you are wearing, it will tell you right away if you are missing enchants/gems, or if you have erroneous stats for your spec.

    I could care less if someone has a 5k gearscore. but, when i look at my own gear and at a glance notice that I still haven’t gemmed my new boomkin shoulders, or tossed an enchant on them. then it tells me what i need to remember to do. and why in elune’s name is that resilience there? i’m not pvping..


  26. Well said BBB.

    I hate gearscore with a passion simply because there are nitwits out there that still equate it to skill. In fact, the other day there was a huge debate in /Trade of those advocating that it shows a level of skill against those that know it for what it truly is.

    I almost left a group on my tank when I did the random heroic yesterday and upon zoning in the first thing one of the DPS said was “Wow, look at that gearscore! Now we can finally finish this.” The group was at the first boss in Gundrak and had obviously been failing at the because of all the skeletons I saw lying around. Of course I stayed anyways and the healer was able to concentrate on keeping the idiot DPS alive rather than me when they refused to run out of the poison nova so we got the boss down. Upon further inspection 2 of the DPS were spec’d full 71pts into their respective Retribution and Unholy talent trees.


  27. bravo

    I think a lot of people forget the original purpose of heroics – to help gear up players, not to farm emblems. I remember making a list of instances where gear dropped (from this site of course!) and running them until they finally dropped. It was annoying, but one that one piece finally dropped it was worth it. Now its a lot easier to gear up, and a lot of people are running them for their frosts/boas, but there are still a ton of people doing them for the drops.

    As for gearscore…I refuse to put it on my computer, I find its fairly useless when it comes to actually doing….anything. I ran a Heroic PoS a few days ago on my shaman where the healer druid had just recently hit 80, and apparently had a 3k gearscore. The paladin tank (50k health) whined about it, and several others told him he shouldn’t even be doing heroics yet, but we went ahead anyways (with the tank pulling as though the healer was ICC geared). At the end of every fight, everyone’s health was full (except for ick, when dpsers decided to stand in poison cloud. You can’t heal stupid 😀 ) No one except me complimented him or gave him any encouragement at all. It disgusted me a bit. The tank didn’t even bother slow down when the healer said he was going afk because his daughter was crying, and I wound up healing until the other 3 kicked him. ugh.


  28. BBB wow (excuse the pun), great post and big up on trying your best to educate both the tanks and other players. /Salute

    As a casual Bear I know exactly how disrespectful it feels if the T10 DPS DK in the random grp insists on pulling because he can survive the ez mode Heroic and I’m pulling too slow since checking that everyone is ready and marking is not needed in these runs.

    On the other side of the coin, I would also like to thank all progression raiders that go into LFD and respect the casual tanks job and tries to have fun instead of making his life hell as I also know how nice it feels when they do help out.

    @ Tex: As a Casual Tank I personally won’t mind if you down-gear, as long as you can do your job (which by the sounds of things you can), but then I don’t quickly take offense over small stuff.


  29. @ Helistar – Either you’re just a troll, OR you’re serious, in which case I think you’re a selfish asshat that doesn’t give a shit about the other people in your group who can’t read your mind, don’t know that you don’t give a shit, and have to scramble to try and cover for your selfish ass. In a group, it’s not all about you, and if after reading that post you still don’t get the point that it’s about teamwork, then piss off and stay away from my blog. I don’t give a rats ass about YOU.


  30. Long time reader, first time poster, boomkin/ offtank beartank as main.
    To start: i love this blog. sometimes i have the feel that most of the reasonable peeps hang around here 🙂
    As im levelling a shammy healer entirely trough LFG, i must say i have met everything (and more) of what you discribe 🙂
    On one hand it makes me a better player, as i find it a perfect (social or not) experimenting ground for emergency scenario’s, but on the other hand i often think: dear god, you should be thankfull that you dont know how dumb you really are.
    Must say tough that from most tanks i meet in the LFG tool i can tell if they will become good or not. The good ones are usually the friendly ones 🙂

    The things you wrote ARE logical, but that doesnt mean everyone follows logic. Is tossing a nuclear bomb on a country a logical act? and yet people do so.

    about gearscore? its a handy tool to get a first impression of a toons potential on output. not on skill, reason, wits, playstyle or anything else. just on output.

    Grts Jinkx

    For queen and country! the knight yells as he charges the giant red dragon.
    For lunch! is the dragons respons.


  31. A couple of random comments:

    – Kitties have Cower and it’s a sick joke, it serves absolutely no purpose at lowering aggro, since a single DoT tick is enough to give you back the aggro you just lost. I don’t even have it on my bars. In raids, I ask a paladin for the hand-of-something-which-reduces-aggro. Otherwise I stop attack, or in an emergency I shadowmeld.

    – pulling threat off the tank is bad in a raid, but in your generic heroic dungeon it’s completely irrelevant. Apart from the three new heroics, the others can be tanked in cat form, so I honestly don’t give a rat’s ass about aggro. Barkskin+SI can keep me alive long enough. And if I get aggro at least the healer won’t fall asleep…..


  32. Sadly I’m forced to agree that paladins make the biggest asshats in groups.
    I’ve noticed a tendency in newly dinged characters to buff BoW on the healer, which fair enough maybe the groups they levelled with had that requirement. But in the higher geared TOC/ICC raiding members who I happen to meet, my god how cheap they are. I positively have to beg sometimes to get a buff and it can often be a 10 minute Kings, which of course they have no intention of renewing even though you might get halfway through the instance with that.
    I did actually meet a mage the other day who asked me if I had ever healed before as I let him die, after he went off on his own and arcane blasted a pack of mobs while the tank was afk. “sure, have you ever dps’d before?” was the response. 😀

    your post was as always excellent, keep up the great work BBB.


  33. Ahmen Brother Ahmen.

    I’m making a macro of this articles URL and will be most likely spamming this tonight in my multiple HC runs that i have to do on all my toons.


  34. I only tank as offspec but I found myself /nod several times when I read this.

    In a healing POV there’s nothing more annoying that a DPS gaining a threatlevel thats to high for the tank to overcome (Taunt on cd) and then blaming either the tank or me as healer for his death.

    Sadly enough people who keep pulling aggro while there are various way to avoid it don’t seem to care (even if you let them die) and blaming other is very easy to do. I will ask them to play nice, but in the long run I end up leaving some groups because of overall bad behavier.

    again a great post!


  35. Man, great post. I have an etiquette question though. I queue as a boomchicken, and my question is what is cool for me to do as dps, and what is going to make me look like an arrogant jerk. A lot of times, I get in a group with a fresh 80 tank, or just one that can still use the gear that drops in Heroic Dungeons. A lot of people are leveling and gearing up alts these days and more often than not the tank is competent, and geared for the content. Now, I can (and have) just cast wrath all run (my threat reduction is all passive, unless I switch forms and cower, which is macroed in) and we will eventually clear it, I will not pull aggro, and I will have no fun whatsoever. It turns the game into work, which is okay since mostly I am farming for BoA stuff that will let me have fun later, but it is still boring. However, on a few occasions I have stripped off some gear and/or stayed in caster form. Then I can let fly and have fun running 5-man content again, which is still my favorite format. Twice when I have done that, it got noticed and the tank got offended both times. These were not asshat tanks, just low geared ones, and they took my gearing down as a sign of disrespect. They instantly categorized me as an elitist prick and the runs weren’t fun anymore. Nobody got kicked, and I geared back up both times. I probably should have asked first, but how do I do that without getting the same reaction? I have had tanks get offended when I just cast wrath and starfire too instead of hurricane and starfall. I have waited 5 seconds or more before casting aoe’s and still pulled aggro. That’s not the tank’s fault, and it doesn’t bother me at all if I die from it, but I look like an asshat when it has happened. How do I say, “Can I gear down and have fun?” without it sounding like “My gear is too good for you.”? Should I just go back and get lower gear for running heroics? If a healer or tank out gear the group significantly, it doesn’t hurt (unless they are elitist pricks or rockstars, but that’s a different situation) and can just make things go smoother. My wife has high gear on her hunter too, but misdirect and feign death alleviate almost all noticeable problems. I use omen, tidy plates and gearscore (not as judgement, but as information at a glance) but i don’t have recount running in 5-mans. I don’t care what the numbers are, I just want to play my character. I miss entangling roots. I would miss cyclone too, but I get to use it in HoR occasionally.
    I would go on about mixing gear levels in LFD, but i can’t do anything about that. What I can do is try to have fun running 5 man dungeons again. Even in a really geared group, it’s not really fun. You just blow everything up and leave. The only fun in that IS watching the damage meters, and when it gets to that point it’s a problem. I’m not asking “what can Blizzard do for me” I am asking “What do I do to have fun playing my character without looking like an arrogant jerk?” It’s not like this happens all the time, but when it does it just sucks. I always feel like the bad guy because I like to raid and I like to run 5 man dungeons. It gets to be where I have to be ashamed of my gear sometimes. I pug raids, I’m in a guild that consists of me, my wife and 2 other friends. I’m not in 277 gear or anything really hardcore and I don’t see gear as any kind of status symbol, but I like my character and I like making him better and stronger. But because of that, I get classified as elitist and anything I say is arrogant. I have learned that I can NEVER give anyone advice on my main, no matter how well intended because I am apparently being condescending even in a friendly whisper, but on my alt in lower gear, my opinion somehow has weight in most LFD groups.

    This got longer than I meant for it to. Mostly because I really liked BBB’s post today and agree with it whole heartedly, playing as a team is fun, even with people you don’t know. It’s not that I don’t know how to manage my threat, or when to manage it, but that my ways of managing it are offensive to some nice, competent tanks out there and that bothers me. How do I communicate this better without looking like an elitist?


  36. Hear Hear!

    On my Shaman (who is just starting to queue up for Wrath normal dungeons) I am still tweaking my DPS rotation (or priority list, as the case may be) but there is one thing I do in every pull to try and help the group. I make sure that I am always targeting a healer or caster, standing by to use Wind Shear when they start to cast.

    It’s a little thing (and I’m probably hurting my DPS) but I like to think it helps.


  37. I shall chime in like a broken record to say I also agree.

    Unfortunately, as Callyx says, the people who should read this sort of thing don’t; they don’t even seek out this sort of thing. If they look for anything, it’s probably a “This is the best gear you can get” guide.

    So, while reading this post, and the comments, and thinking that GearScore is evil, I thought of something else – SkillScore! Instead of scoring you on what your gear’s like, it tries to measure your skill at various roles, and based on your performance in dungeons and raids it’s constantly changing.

    For DPSers (because it’s usually the DPSers that we complain about)
    Do better and better DPS and your skillscore goes up.
    Do such high DPS that you pull aggro, and your skillscore takes a huge dive. If your Gearscore dwarfs the tank’s Gearscore, then a raid message appears on your screen only, saying, “You outgear the tank massively. Lower your DPS,” and stays there.

    For Tanks
    If your GearScore is comparable to the Healers’ and DPSers’ GearScores, but you keep on losing threat, your skillscore takes a dive.
    If Gearscore is comparable and you keep a mob’s attention for its entire health bar, and your skillscore goes up.
    If your Gearscore is dwarfed by the DPSers’, then you get a raid message on your screen only, saying, “You’re doomed.” If, despite this, you maintain threat on everything, your Skillscore is instantly maxed out.

    …and so on.


  38. Well put a good core artical that everyone should read vets and New guys alike!! Group edicate-101 There are other people at the end of that ping line lol


  39. I really wish we could friend/group people from other realms. I’ve run into so many nice, thoughtful, caring, EXCELLENT players…but with the new LFD tool, sadly most of them are not on my realm. While I’m ecstatic that I can ignore players and never group with them again, I’m sad that there’s no way to re-group with people that were really fun to play with.

    Well said, Bear!


  40. /cheer – that bear wall deserves a *hug*

    On a side note – I don’t go with pugs very often because the majority of them fail on at least one of these point – I was in one the other day, Violet Hold, with a ret pally. He refused to buff us because he didn’t want to “waste” the mats. Strange that we (I went with a few guildees) then felt the urge not to “waste” our heals on him 😛 I know it was bad of us … but honestly, sometimes people leave you staggered at how mean spirited they can be.


  41. Not to sound like a broken record but….

    I totally agree as well.

    Yesterday I had a very interesting conversation with my nephew.

    You see recently I started a Real Life raid team. The team consists my wife and I and seven of our friends and family. My nephew is the youngest coming in at around 14. He recently meaning last week got his warlock up to 80. I see a lot of the same tendencies in him that Bear has been talking about. As well all know locks have a tremendous potential to steal aggro. Their dps is out of control. He is blowing away my much better geared wife in dps by almost a whole 1k. I had to sit down and have a talk with him though because I noticed that when I did a dungeon with him all he wanted to do was reign of fire. I tried to explain how a continuous AoE is not a beneficial to the group as helping me take down my target and then the next. He then explained “but i drop down to about 3.7k on a single target. Imo 3.7 is very respectable to some one with a matching gear score (3.7k Gs). I then talked with him about how when I play my hunter I use Misdirect every pull. Sure it uses up mana and causes me to have to switch to Aspect of the Viper more which in turn lowers my dps, but with it we have no problems with aggro or threat. I don’t think I got anywhere with him in our talk but I hope I did. I wish he along with all the other Dps that just wanna be chart toppers could read blogs like this.

    On another note I even though I tank more than I heal I still try to help the group out in other ways. If the healer says “mana” I use my innervate on them. I don’t need it in bear form. Or if we get done with a really rough boss fight or bad pull and people are low on health and healer has no mana I pop out and use Tranquility. One time in halls of stone during the crazy faces of doom ordeal our healer died. I had a really good but terribly low Gs Dk help out by using frost presence grabbing all the aggro and let me shift from bear form so I could battle rez the healer. He ended up dying and getting a repair bill out of it we survived. He was even a good sport and we all thanked him for taking one for the team. Some times it is people like that make me love running dungeons.

    Neways good blog Bear I love how we think alike on these issues.


  42. I cry a little inside when I see wonderful posts like this; only for the reasoning that the people that need this information the most are the ones that refuse to research their characters on forums, wowhead, wowwiki, etc. By that logic, if they are reading these articles they are obtaining the information and (hopefully) using it, thereby having the articles no longer apply to them. Thank you BBB for all the effort you put into these.


  43. Great thread. Everybody should read this, even veterans of pugs/raids.

    I’ve been leveling a couple alts lately and nothing is worse then somebody who joins a pug because they have 2-3 bubbles left and they want to quickly level. Then, after they ding, they drop group. That just pisses me off every time.

    The rest of the group just contributed to your level, jackass. The least you can do is spend the required 20 minutes to finish the job.


  44. /agree

    With all of it.
    ..and if you happened to read around, even at, you’d see that other classes agree with you too.
    DPS needs to do maximum damage without peeling mobs.
    Heals needs to keep the party alive to the best of their ability.
    All of you have to stay out of the fire.

    The trouble is… the ones who need to read this, don’t. Maybe they should make it part of the EULA that we sign every patch. =D


  45. Very comprehensive, very clear and I hope it reaches some who need to see this the most. I fear, however, that the sort of person who cares about being a group player is, in fact, being a good group player. Those who aren’t (and need this information the most) just come off as selfish, self-centered and uncaring. And in a very Pavlovian way, until groups FAIL for being poor, I fear these people won’t learn.

    I continue to muddle on and when I hit that great group, or that group with open minded (frequently newer) players and we can do some actual…you know…teamwork, the game still shines as bright as it ever has. I remain optimistic that Blizz will swing the game a bit more back to that point where we have to cooperate to win.

    (The bad behavior is, IMO, also a by-product of incentives to go into instances that are boring as heck and massively over geared…)


  46. Holy snap, Bear. I just had a rogue in H AN that I wanted to throttle for not using Trick of the Trade during the opening of the pulls. The whole instance. Even after I asked him to.

    Happily, on Anub, he, uh, forgot to dodge a Pound….

    He had a 5300 GS.

    I /snickered.


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